Shadow Study (Soulfinders #1) by Maria V. Snyder

16130758I love Maria V. Snyder’s books. She always has just the right amount of romance, action, and mystery to make me happy. My all time favorite book of hers is Poison Study, and so I was excited to see she was starting a new series with Yelena and Valek, the main characters of her Study books. This Soulfinders series can be read without reading anything else from her, but I would read the Study series first just because I think you get a better grip on who the main characters are if you start from the beginning.

For those not familiar with these characters, Yelena is an official liaison between two territories, Ixia, a land where magic is banned and Sitia a land full of magicians and magic. She is also a Soulfinder, a person who finds lost souls and guides them to wherever they are to spend eternity. The problem arises when it appears that Yelena’s magic is gone completely, and the whole book we are trying to find out what has happened, who is trying to kill her, and also what the Commander in Ixia is up to. There is also a side story about illegal goods being shipped and who and how they are getting across that we have to figure out.  Along the way we get to meet some new characters and have some laughs when we get to read from Janco’s point of view. The thing about Maria V. Snyder’s books are that she really has a knack for making her side characters so interesting and loveable and so it’s nice to read about new characters that you know are going to be so awesome in the future.

I have to say that I was a bit disappointed because I was excited about reading more about Yelena and Valek, but yet again they seem to be apart for most of the book. Yes, they are really cool characters but I think they are better when they are together, and sadly this doesn’t happen. I was glad we got three different point of views, but when I started reading it, all I really cared about was Yelenas. Valek’s chapters had a lot of flash backs and they ended up being a bit boring for me. I have read though, that some people really liked reading about his past and how he became an assassin so I guess it’s just a matter of preference. Plus I have to say that Valek’s loyalty to the commander has always bothered me, and I dislike reading about it.

I’m not saying not to read or to give up on this series, I’m just saying this book felt like a set up for the next books (even though it had a tidy conclusion) and perhaps in the coming ones Yelena and Valek will be together.

So the bottom line is that if you are familiar with her Study series you will be happy to see the characters you love again, but it’s really just a book you read to get to the next one. For those who are new to anything Maria V. Snyder has written, then I would say start with Poison Study first, even though technically you don’t have to. Shadow Study will be released February 24th.

Also Shadow Study is out in audiobook over at Audible. I highly recommend giving it a listen. Gabra Zackman has been the narrator throughout the series and has consistently done a good job. Here’s a small clip to listen to…


Note: I received an advanced copy of this book from the publisher through NetGalley.

Audiobook: The Dragons of Dorcastle (The Pillars of Reality, #1) by Jack Campbell

23379243Details, Please (Publisher’s description)

“For centuries, the two Great Guilds have controlled the world of Dematr. The Mechanics and the Mages have been bitter rivals, agreeing only on the need to keep the world they rule from changing. But now a Storm approaches, one that could sweep away everything that humans have built. Only one person has any chance of uniting enough of the world behind her to stop the Storm, but the Great Guilds and many others will stop at nothing to defeat her.

Mari is a brilliant young Mechanic, just out of the Guild Halls where she has spent most of her life learning how to run the steam locomotives and other devices of her Guild. Alain is the youngest Mage ever to learn how to change the world he sees with the power of his mind. Each has been taught that the works of the other’s Guild are frauds. But when their caravan is destroyed, they begin to discover how much has been kept from them.”

So what?

While searching for something new to listen to I saw an advertisement for a book written exclusively for Audible and thought that it might be interesting. It’s depicted as a new epic fantasy saga and is written by Jack Campbell who already has a fan following with his many military science fiction/ space opera novels.

The Dragons of Dorcastle is about a world where Mages and Mechanics get to throw their weight around and treat everyone who is not in their guild like trash. It’s not even like the two major guilds get along, in fact the Mages and Mechanics hate each other. There is a lot about Mages not understanding technology and the Mechanics not understanding or believing in Magic. Each guild perpetuates lies and rumors about the other to the point that nothing said about each has any real truth. Any contact between the two is not encouraged and to a certain point could mean death.

It is with this knowledge that Mari, a Master Mechanic, and Alain, a Mage run into a conflict where both reluctantly have to work together; Mari being on a caravan that Alain is contracted to protect.

This book was interesting. At first I was not really paying attention until I became aware that, hey this is actually good… I really liked Campbell’s world and how he described the Mages. They are described as being taught to not display or feel any emotion and reminded me of robots. I’ve never read about mages like that.

It’s kind of steampunk and it’s just neat to see a world where mechanics and magicians are so important and are in conflict. Also a plus is that both protagonists are likeable in their own way, with Alain being brutally honest and not quite sure about the gamut of emotions he is experiencing, and Mari trying to live and fight for respect in a world where she is being looked down upon from every angle. There is a mystery and it’s fun trying to figure out what and who is behind all the trouble.

Perhaps I liked this book not just for the world building, but also because there is some romance. In The Dragons of Dorcastle the romance it isn’t trying to knock you over the head all the time. It’s mostly just sweet awkwardness here and there amidst the plot.

Having never read any of Jack Campbell’s science fiction books I don’t really know what to expect of his writing, but I think it is great that he wrote this YA fantasy. He did a really great job and I will definitely look into his Lost Fleet series.

Now, this is an Audible exclusive so I don’t think this is even published as a physical book. You can probably only hear it through Audible. If you already have an account I think it is worth a credit. If you are not sure then check out some more reviews before buying or getting a membership. Also check your local library to see if they carry the audiobook.

It is worth noting that MacLeod Andrews does a great job narrating and his voice is not irritating in the slightest. Audible lets you listen to some of it before buying.

The Dragons of Dorcastle Published December 2nd 2014 by Audible Studios on Brilliance Audio

Length: 11 hrs and 27 mins


Cinder Audiobook Giveaway

I’m excited to host a giveaway of Cinder by Marissa Meyer. Woot Woot! This book is all kinds of awesome, being a cyberpunk retelling of Cinderella and so Macmillan Audio is acting as your fairy godmother and offering a free audiobook copy to one of you.

In the spirit of Marissa Meyer’s recent guest post over at Bibliophilic Monologues, all you have to do to enter is name a song that fits in with one of your favorite books. An example from me would be “Give Me Strength” by Snow Patrol really fit in with The Iron Knight by Julie Kagawa. That simple!

This giveaway is open to everyone. If someone outside the U.S. wins they will get a Cinder digital download instead. The giveaway will end when the clock strikes twelve on the 25th of January. I hope all of you participate!

Here’s an audio clip courtesy of Macmillan Audio and Novel Novice‘s YouTube page 🙂

Die for Me by Amy Plum [Audible Audio Edition]

I started listening to Die for Me while doing chores and such, and I enjoyed it. Paris is the setting for the book so most of the characters are French. It was neat to listen to the audiobook because the voice actress, Julia Whelan would speak in a French accent and pronounce all these French words. It was a delight! I don’t think it would be the same reading it. Plus with all the setting descriptions it felt like I was in Paris myself.

Details, Please

After the death of their parents, Katie and Georgia Mercier move to Paris to live with their grandparents, where they have repeated encounters with Vincent Delacroix and his “kindred.” One day she witnesses Vincent’s best friend Jules get hit by a train and freaks out. Not only that, it looks like Vincent doesn’t care. The callused jerk! She breaks off any connection with Vincent until three days later when she sees Jules again. Needless to say, she is a bit confused about all that went down. Shouldn’t Jules be dead? And here comes the new breed of paranormal creatures….they turn out to be zombie guardian angels called revenants (ruh-vuh-nahnts). I bet I lost some of you there, but you know it was oddly entertaining. Since originally they died saving someone, they keep doing it after death and are bound to that one mission for the rest of their existence. You have to give Mrs. Plum credit for trying a new concept. The rest of the story unfolds when Kate gets caught in the middle of a revenge plot between the revenants and their enemies.

So What?

Okay, so I’ll be the first to say this is fluff, and another variation on Twilight sort of. I disliked Starcrossed for that reason, but I liked Die for Me. I think that Starcrossed was an imitation of Twilight while Die for Me was merely inspired by it (if you will allow me to use “Twilight” and “Inspired” in the same sentence.) I think it’s the French culture, and the Paris setting that kept me interested. To be honest I don’t think I would have finished this if I was reading it, but since I was listening it was just better.


Wait till you find this audiobook at a cheaper price. However, it’s free with an 30-day free trial membership. Even then though, I’d use my free trial membership on another more expensive book. So yeah, just wait a bit before buying if interested, or perhaps you can find it at the library.

Audiobooks & Bounty Hunters

How do you feel about audiobooks?

I’ve heard people say it’s a cop-out because you don’t actually read the book. I think that’s pretty harsh, but some people feel that way. As for me I think they come in handy when you’re doing the laundry or washing the dishes or even a long commute to work. And does anyone else have speakers in their shower? I hate to take showers without music or an audiobook. Lol. I have these crappy speakers in a Ziploc bag held with clothespins to my shower curtain. Yeah, I’m ghetto that way.

But anyway it took me awhile to get used to audiobooks, because I wasn’t paying attention. I’d always get distracted. I’ve recently forced myself to actually focus on what’s being said, although I still prefer to read the actual book. I suppose some people are not auditory learners. Or maybe you read faster than the book being narrated.

My friend says she’s only liked Graceling as an audiobook because it had sound effects and different voices. I always thought that was funny. But today I wanted to talk about one audiobook that I’ve thoroughly enjoyed. I haven’t listened to that many, but this by far is my favorite.

Janet Evanovich’s One For the Money Narrated by C.J. Critt. It seems that the earlier books are being re-narrated by new people like Lori Petti (the trainer from Free Willy) or Lorelei King. I’ve heard a little of the new ones, and I still prefer C.J. Critt. She is just awesome.The way she narrates Benito Ramirez gives me the chills. She is narrating by herself and she does each character so well, you realize you don’t need different voices to keep you entertained.

I was about nine when her first book came out so I can see how my generation thinks the books are for older people, but they’re not. I mean yeah, certain things they say can be dated, but that’s cool in its own way. I mean I picture Stephanie with a ↓cell phone like this and an outfit like that.↓

Okay I exaggerate just a bit, I think the books came out early 90’s so maybe not the outfit, but the phone yes.

So Stephanie Plum used to be a lingerie buyer, but is now unemployed. Her fridge is empty, her car gets repossessed and she needs to live. Desperate she asks her cousin Vinnie for a job as a bounty hunter. As it turns out her first assignment is to hunt down her ex Joe Morelli, a former cop who is in deep trouble for killing a man. Of course the situation is more complicated than we think. So not only is she looking for her punk ex, she is solving a mystery as well.

You know, when I first got into the book I thought it was pure fluff, but one scene early on really scared me, and puts you in the same mindset as Stephanie. She really doesn’t know what she’s getting herself into in the beginning and she kind of flounders along. Her family is hilarious, and her Grandma Mazur is just crazy funny.

*I’ve placed an audio clip in the side bar if you’d like to listen to a clip.*

I mean it’s kind of like Dog the Bounty Hunter meets the Jersey Shore. Pfft.

Okay, okay, not really, I mean she’s a bounty hunter and it takes place on the Jersey Shore. I might have scared some people off with Dog, but hey, I like that show.

Overall it was a fun book made even better by C.J. Critt narrating. Also One for The Money looks like it’s going to be made into a movie next year with Katherine Heigl as Stephanie, so try reading or listening before the movie hits theaters.

So…What do you guys think of audiobooks? Any Favorites?